Images Representing RCA Faculty Research

UC Santa Cruz faculty affiliated with the Research Center for the Americas conduct ground-breaking research that shapes our understanding of the hemisphere. On this page, we highlight the research of select faculty from the Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts who are enriching our knowledge of the Americas in citizenship, race, mobility, literature, linguistics, and media arts.

Faculty Research from the Division of Social Sciences

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Assimilation: An Alternative History

Authored By Catherine S. Ramírez

Assimilation decouples immigration and assimilation to show how certain people who are not immigrants or who are not recognized as “real” or legitimate immigrants have been assimilated as racialized and subordinate sub­jects in the United States. Assimilation as a relationship of power, as Professor Ramírez argues, is the process whereby the boundary between unequal groups and between inside and outside blurs, disap­pears, or, paradoxically, is reinforced.

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Venom Research Lab

Directed by Lily Balloffet

Dr. Balloffet's current book project, "American Venom: Snakes, Sciene, and Hemispheric Relations," explores the lives of people and venemous snakes abound together by circulations of capital, labor, knowledge, and new frontiers of scientidfic research in the 20th-21st centuries. During summer 202, the studnet researchers in the Venom Lab explored subjects of biogeography, animal behavior, animal behavior, cultural meaning, snake venom research, and public health.

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"Whiteness Has Come Out of the Closet and Intensified Brazil’s Reactionary Wave"

A book chapter by Patricia Pinho in Precarious Democracy (2021).

The chapter analyzes the significance of whiteness in informing and inciting Brazil’s reactionary wave and the election of Bolsonaro. In this chapter, Dr. Pinho analyzes whiteness as a social identity and a social practice, as well as an ideal promoted discursively as a major social value to be preserved, by those who already possess it, or acquired, by those who do not.

Faculty Research from the Arts & Humanities Divisions

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Theatre of the Sphere: The Vibrant Being

Edited by Michael M. Chemers

Luis Valdez, known as the "Father of Chicano Theatre," is a playwright, educator, and activist whose contribution to American theatre is legendary. He has written his magnum opus on his personal theory of theatre and techniques of acting, direction, and playwriting in Theatre of the Sphere: The Vibrant Being. Edited by UCSC Professor Michael M. Chemers, this book will join a very short list of critically acclaimed theatre books.

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Bilingualism Research Lab

Directed by Mark Amenegual

The UCSC Bilingualism Research Laboratory facilitates research focused on the linguistic, social, and cognitive consequences of knowing more than one language.  The lab provides research opportunities to faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students interested in exploring patterns of cross-language interaction in the speech production, perception, and processing of both languages of early simultaneous bilinguals, early sequential bilinguals, and second language learners.

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Mapping the Amazon: Literary Geography After the Rubberboom

Authored By Amanda M. Smith

Mapping the Amazon examines how widely read novels from the twentieth-century South America attempted to map the region for readers. By comparing literature with various modernizing projects that have carved Amazonia into cultural and economic spaces, Dr. Smith reveals lieteraure's power to both erode and fortify extractive ecologies. Read this interview with Dr. Smith about her book.